I lie awake at night, overwhelmed with the fear that I am participating in the greatest and most dangerous hubris, to think that I should teach.
When I took my job at Houston Baptist University I knew, of course, that teaching was entailed. I love teaching, or so I thought. Turns out, what I have loved is watching people learn. Teaching is another thing altogether, a thing fraught with peril.
John Mark Reynolds, Holly Ordway, and I are partnering in a new podcast (soon to be released by HBU). We recently discussed the subject of teaching, and John Mark described himself as teacher as merely, “a cruise director on the Love Boat of knowledge.” I laughed at him at the time (obviously), but then feared that I was not worthy to do even this, to point out the many splendors of the world as we sail by.
For who is? What could possibly qualify one to take young souls and minds into their hands and say, “Look here: this is worth knowing”? I think mostly we just choose people who are a bit smarter than the rest of us, but oh my goodness is that an inadequate qualification.
I’ve been teaching a class on heroic literature to eight high-schoolers this semester. They’re all brilliant, funny, thoughtful and opinionated. Our classes are Socratic and based on the Great Books, which means it’s my job to help my students discuss some of the greatest pieces of literary art man has created and the biggest ideas he’s put on paper. Next semester I will be teaching seven classes of who knows how many students. This terrifies me. Continue reading